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_" For I was an hungered,” says or multiply personal accommodations Christ, “and ye gave me meat, thirsty for him—but we have his people here and ye gave me drink, naked and ye-his poor are among us, and his sick clothed me, sick and in prison and ye members, who claim the exercise of came unto me.” Never was passage our sympathy. Now, said Christ, If of Holy Scripture more abused, be- you love me manifest your kindness to cause never was any one by many these. This is the meaning of the more misunderstood than this. It has passage, and this will be the test of been perverted into a fountain of all character at the last day-whether or kinds of error, it has been made the not we have loved Christ supremely, basis of false appeals to human and un- and have been actuated in all we did sanctified benevolence-blind leaders by this sacred, powerful, and sweet of the blind, have told their hearers, principle. The righteous, at the day and fancied that they have found of judgment, then, will be proved to warrant for their assertions in these be what they professed to be, by their words—that charity was the key which conduct towards the people of Christ; could alone open for them the king- and this will substantiate their claim dom of heaven.
as the friends and followers and lovers My brethren, if you will look into of the Saviour. the passage, you will perceive that it We go on to consider THEIR is not to the charity of a carnal un
In that day of decision, they sanctified breast, that our Saviour re- are represented as placed upon fers; it is not to the alms and deeds of right hand” of God. This does not, the world. It is to the hallowed be- of course, my hearers, as you must be nevolence, it is to Christian benefi- aware, refer to mere locality; it is of cence, that we are here directed; and little consequence, literally speaking, the grand principle that is contained whether at that day we stand on the in the words is supreme love to Jesus right hand or the left hand of Christ. Christ himself. The conduct here re- The language is figurative. You know ferred to is a right behaviour towards that the right hand, among men, is the righteous themselves, because they accounted the place of honour. An belong to Christ and bear his image. individual who makes a feast would Our Lord is represented as saying, place the most distinguished of his “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the guests at his right hand. This would least of these, because they are my be the mark by which he would be brethren—done it for my sake-ye pointed out to the company as the have done it unto me." So that the most illustrious individual at the table; test of character, at the last day, will and therefore, by the right hand of be, not simply charity to mankind at God, or the right hand of Christ, we large, but love to Christ; and that are to understand the place of honourlove itself is to be attested by our con- the place of distinction.
It is a figuduct towards those who are Christ's. rative mode of expression, to intimate If we love Christ we love his people that Christ will bestow all possible -we shall love every thing that is his. marks of honour and distinction upon He himself is no longer, personally, his people at the last day. While the upon earth-we can no longer shew wicked are sent to the left-while they acts of kindness to him—the opportu- are treated with contempt, the rightenity for this is past. Men can no longer ous shall be advanced to high honour receive him into their habitation, and and glory. spread the table or couch before him, But we come to THE SENTENCE.
And here, in the first place, I shall with honour before the assembled consider the ORDER of it. It must Universe. strike you that the righteous receive And there is another thing that may their sentence first. The King will ad- be dwelt upon in reference to the order dress those on the right hand before of the sentence. It comes first to he speaks to them on his left : He will them, that their enemies, and slanderbless before He curses. As if, my ers, and persecutors, may be the specfriends, it were more accordant with tators of the honour which the King the benevolence of his nature, to bless delighted to put upon them. Aye, than to curse—as is to give emphasis and methinks that neither the thunder to the sentiment we so often repeat, of the archangel's trumpet, nor the dis“Mercy is his delight, while judgment solution of nature, nor the great white is his strange work.” Before he takes throne, nor him that sitteth upon it, up the vials of his wrath to pour their before whose voice the heavens and contents on the devoted and guilty the earth flee away and find no place, heads of the wicked, he will pour will be so appalling to the persecutors blessings on the heads of the righteous and enemies of the righteous in the before he sends the wicked to hell, he will last day as the elevation of the objects welcome the righteous to heaven, an of their scorn and contumely and idea pregnant with instruction for us cruelty. How will they be mortified now. Oh, how willing is the Saviour to and surprised to see them covered with receive and bless all that come to him ! so much glory, raised to such an Even his very manner of blessing the elevation, addressed with such lanrighteous at the last day, though he guage of distinction, and blessed with will then have no blessings for the such marks of endearment. They once wicked, seems to teach us now, how treated them as the filth and offscouring willing he is to receive and bless all of all things, whom it was almost fair, that truly come to him for salvation. if not honourable, to persecute with You will mark, that the Saviour seems, ridicule, if not with rage, but then as it were, in haste to bless his people, they shall stand the spectators of the he will not keep them waiting in sus honour which their God delighteth to pense. This is absolutely necessary put upon them; and in listening to for the full consummation of their fe- language like this addressed to them; licity. Were a judge upon the bench, "Come ye blessed of my Father,” their placed in circumstances in which it rage, their envy, their malice, will be was his delightful duty to pronounce a such, that their hell will commence, sentence of honourable acquittal on even while hearing the sentence of some friends of his own, would he not heaven that will be pronounced on select them first? Would he not pro- those, whom in the days of their hunounce blessings upon them, ere he miliation they thought themselves jusdischarged the duty of his office, in tified in treating with oppression, and condemning those who are guilty ? cruelty, and death. Would he not pronounce the sentence Having considered the order of the of life, felicity, and honor, before that sentence, let us now advert to Him by of condemnation and misery? Thus whom it shall be pronounced. Then does the Saviour act. He calls forth shall the King say unto them on his his friends, first that he may pour right hand, come ye blessed of my comfort into their souls, and, with Father.” The King-even Jesus their such words as I have read to you, fill Saviour. Now, my brethren, he speaks them with felicity and endow them to us, and he speaks words of bless
ing; but it is by a delegated voice and we stood in his favour, this would be through the medium of the Scriptures, much. But, oh, my brethren, amidst that he addresseth himself to us. We the splendour of the last day, when see the rays of his glory as reflected eternity shall be opened before us, from the page of inspiration ; they are when all nations shall be at the bar only as the radiance of a concealed lu- of judgment, and countless millions minary ; but the Sun of Righteousness await this testimony from the lips of himself shall rise in full orbed splen- Christ ; then to hear Jesus, as he dour at that day, and shine into our turns towards us with a countenance souls.
brighter than the glory of the sun, and Now, as I have said, he speaketh covered with smiles, to hear him say, from the Scriptures, but these are but “ Come ye blessed !” this, this is the faint and feeble and distant echos honour! this is glory! this is heaven! of his voice; but that voice shall speak Look, now, at the LANGUAGE of the immediately, personally to us on that sentence, and you will find it characday-yes, the Son himself, the bright- terized by three ideas. First, it is the ness of his Father's glory, and the ex- language of welcome; Secondly, it press image of his person, he shall say is the language of benediction; and, unto us, “Come ye blessed of my Thirdly, it is the language of muniFather." No delegated voice of Pro-ficent communication. phet or of Apostle shall speak. Their First, it is the language of welcome. tongues shall be silent, and Christ Or we may take first THE LANGUAGE himself shall address his people at that of BENEDICTION—"YE BLESSED;" day. Oh! to hear him say well done! and this stands opposed to the world's How joyful and how rapturous a sound sentence that it pronounces upon the will this be for the soul of the Chris- righteous now.
We are often, my tian, from such lips as His! To hear brethren, called to the bar of public Christ himself say, “thou hast found opinion-we are often cited to the favour in my sight. Oh, my brethren, tribunal of men. The world hath this must be heaven! Even now, who taken the liberty to deal with the chais it that undervalues the expressions racter and with the state, and with of good will of the humblest believer? the destiny of the righteous ; and it But oh, how infinitely higher the ho hath ventured to pronounce upon our nour and the satisfaction and the glory principles, and upon our privileges, of hearing the King of Saints say and upon our prospects. And what so! What a privilege! What a blessed has been the world's decision with reness! How honourable! How glori- ference to the righteous ? It is two-fold. ous! When Cain went out from the We are objects of pity-we are suppresence of the Lord, it was this that posed to inhabit a dark region, on which gave the look of despair to his eye, the sun of prosperity never rises, where imprinted the marks of anguish upon all the springs of felicity are dried up, his countenance, made his step faulter- and where scarcely any thing but ing, and filled him with terror, that he sullenness, wretchedness, and gloom had been cursed of God. What, then, are to be found. And in some of the will it be in the day of judgment to more benevolent of our censors, oh, hear Christ say, “ Well done!” To the expressions of concern and comhear him say so publicly. Oh, were misseration that are sent forth, that he to send an angel to us now in the we should give up fashionable amusevisions of the night to tell us that he ments, and that we should deny ourhad reserved a blessing for us, that selves so many things that are calculated to make men happy. Oh, my he is under that curse which God in friends, they may spare their grief. his mercy has rolled away from him. We feel that it is misplaced—we Beyond the day of judgment, there know that they have misjudged us shall no doubt, there shall no fear --we have tried both sides of the rise in the bosom of the Christian. question-we have tried long what the When God has pronounced upon the world could do, but alas! we found it case, his decision is finaland irrevocable; could do nothing. By the grace of concerning them—"Come ye blessed” God we were turned to those springs -and never, no never through eternity, of salvation which send forth the will the bliss of heaven be chilled or waters of life, and we know we have darkened or interrupted by one passreached that fountain. We have ex- ing doubt, by one momentary gloom. perienced the happiness that lies in That assurance, we say, the believer religion. And if, my friends, experience ought to seek after ; and if sought of the present were not sufficient to after in the way in which God is decide the point, we might then refer willing to bestow it, it shall be found, the matter to the tribunal before which and that in full perfection. we all one day must stand and antici- But again, mark, it is said, “Come pate the decision of Him who, sitting ye blessed of my Father”-blessed, in on the great white throne before an fact, by the whole Trinity. And when assembled universe, shall say to the this sentence will be pronounced, it righteous, “ Come ye blessed.” will be, in fact, the very act of creat
And, then, others not so benevo- | ing the felicity which it describes. lently, have heaped, in different ages of Men frequently call us blessed, or prothe world, their maledictions on the nounce their blessings upon us; but, righteous. Oh, the hard treatment truly, the blessing and the curse of which it has been their lot frequently men can do very little for or against to receive! How often has justice us—it is desirable to avoid the one been perverted, and power employed, and secure the other. But when we to heap all kinds of misery upon those speak of the blessing, which comes on that profess the name and bear the
us from God, his power lacks no abi. image of Christ ? They have been lity, and the word will create the felitrodden under foot, laws have been city that it pronounces.
It will be passed to pronounce them cursed, and with us as on the morning of creation cries have been raised, away with _“Let there be light and light was”them-away with them.” Ah! so it He will say over his people, let them has been, but there is another tribunal be blessed and blessings shall follow. which will reverse the sentence, and It is not an opinion of our God's, for there is another Judge before whom the opinions belong not to God-it is not righteous will appear, and he will say a wish that we may be blessed, for to them, “ Come ye blessed.”
wishes have no place with God-it And this, my friends, is opposed to is the declaration of Jehovah, that he what is frequently their own view of will make us blessed—it is a solemn, their situation, which ever and anon decided truth, that he, the eternal is one of despondency, with a sense God, will employ his wisdom, his of gloom upon their minds, and of power, his grace, in raising us to doubt and solicitude. There are, in complete felicity. At the day of judgthe history of the Christian, seasons ment, the omnipotent, omniscient, when he is ready to write bitter things eternal God will pronounce us blessed. against himself, and to imagine that Let us, then, leave the manner in his
own hand, for we know not from no more, together we will dwell for what our happiness in another world ever in heaven. precisely may spring. Obscurity, im- This teaches us, my brethren, what penetrable by us, may hang over it; we find in many other portions of but let us go cheerfully forward, as- holy Scripture, that the chief felicity sured that if God undertakes to make of heaven consists in being with us blessed, blessed we must be, let the Christ. Good old Simeon, when he felicity come from what source, and clasped the infant Saviour in his consist of what ingredients it may. arms—the child of a few days old, felt
Let us now consider this sentence himself so blessed that he prayed for as the language of wzLCOME. And his departure, as if he could scarcely this will show us, in fact, what our bear that those eyes which had looked felicity is to arise from. Jesus Christ upon the promised Messiah should will say to us on that day, CoME look upon any thing else—“ Lord, ye blessed,” as if to teach us that our now lettest thou thy servant depart in felicity was to arise from our being peace for mine eyes have seen thy salbrought into his presence and dwelling vation !" Peter, on the mount of transfor ever with him. It is very true that figuration was so bewildered with dethe pronoun is not in this verse; but light that he scarcely knew what he as we find it in the verse that contains said, and exclaimed, “Lord, it is good the sentence of the wicked, where it is for us to be here, let us make three said, Depart from me, ye cursed !” tabernacles, one for thee, one for We may, of course, with fairness con- Moses, and one for Elias.” He could jecture, that it should be supplied not endure the thought of going down here, and that we are to understand again to the scenes below. That night, our Saviour, as saying, “ Come unto we are told, the disciples were glad me ye blessed of my Father.” Ye when they saw their Lord; and Tho. that were given to me in the cove- in a rapture of surprise and denant of redemption-ye that have been light exclaimed, “My Lord and my redeemed by my blood-ye that have God.” What then, my brethren, been regenerated by my Spirit-come would it be to see the Saviour—not as unto me to behold my glory, to enjoy the babe that was presented in the my love, and to enter into the full temple—not as the risen Saviour that possession of the fruits of my media- shewed himself still upon earth to his torial undertaking—come, we have disciples—not as Jesus who was transbeen separated long enough—wisdom figured on the mount-no; but as required that you should inhabit yon- Christ in his full glory—as God, Man, der world for a season to pass your Mediator ; having finished his work on trial, and to finish your probation-earth, the object of admiration to the trial has been honorably passed- angels, and the fountain of delight to the term of probation is finished- redeemed and glorified spirits. now come to myself, we will be parted
( To be continued.)
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